- The Heartbreak Kid (1972 film)
The Heartbreak Kid
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Elaine May Produced by Edgar J. Scherick Written by Neil Simon
Bruce Jay Friedman (story)
Starring Charles Grodin
Cinematography Owen Roizman Distributed by 20th Century Fox Release date(s) December 17, 1972 Running time 106 minutes Country United States Language English
The Heartbreak Kid is a 1972 dark romantic comedy film directed by Elaine May, written by Neil Simon, and starring Charles Grodin, Jeannie Berlin, and Cybill Shepherd. It is based on the short story "A Change of Plan", written by Bruce Jay Friedman.
It is #91 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs, a list of the funniest movies ever made.
Plot and theme
A black comedy examination of love and hypocrisy, the satire begins with the New York City traditional Jewish marriage of emotionally-shallow, self-absorbed, "nebbish"-man-boy, Lenny Cantrow, a sporting goods salesman (Charles Grodin). While on honeymoon at the Doral Hotel on Miami Beach, he meets and pursues a tall, blonde, Midwestern, seductively bitchy, but sarcastically witty and gorgeous, student named Kelly Corcoran (Cybill Shepherd). His unsophisticated and emotionally-needy bride, Lila (Jeannie Berlin, daughter of director, Elaine May), refuses to use sunscreen and consequently develops a severe sunburn, which quarantines her in their hotel room. Lenny begins a rendezvous with Kelly, lying to his wife as to his whereabouts. Lenny recklessly and impulsively decides to dump Lila, ending his ephemeral marriage, in order to pursue unloving Kelly, his false ideal, and ultimate fantasy shiksa-goddess. (The girl he was "waiting for all of his life". He just "timed it wrong".) She is attending college in Minnesota, where her somewhat bigoted, suspicious and overly-protective, hostile father (Eddie Albert) is a relentless obstacle.
Because of his lack of depth and lusty adolescent anxiety, an ongoing comedy of errors befalls Lenny during his courtship with Kelly. Each scene peels back the converging of the morally bankrupt superficial and narcissistic personalities of the characters: Lenny, Kelly, and her father. It is hyperbole, irony, pointed disregard, and lack of empathy played out as a moral fable, a lesson for the audience to consider before making any permanent life-changing relationship choices, which a pathetic Lenny, who brought about his own anguish, never fully comprehends.
Awards and honors
American Film Institute recognition
- 2000: AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs #91
- Charles Grodin as Lenny Cantrow
- Cybill Shepherd as Kelly Corcoran
- Jeannie Berlin as Lila Kolodny
- Audra Lindley as Mrs. Corcoran
- Eddie Albert as Mr. Corcoran
- Doris Roberts as Mrs. Cantrow
- 1972 Original full feature length film
- The Heartbreak Kid at the Internet Movie Database
- The Heartbreak Kid at AllRovi
Films directed by Elaine May 1970s 1980sIshtar (1987) AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs 1–10 11–20 21–30 31–40 41–50 51–60 61–70 71–80 81–90 91–100 AFI 100 Years...
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